Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The biggest surprise about this 'un's the fack that this burn was sent to me not by Bill Shute, but by Brad Kohler! Yes, one would find it hard to believe that Kohler would actually be interested in olde silent films but I guess he's about as much a fan of those old classic mooms as I was when I was 15, and the strange thing about this is that there ain't any bare titty or gratuitous sex anywhere in this feature which I always thought was the only reason Brad would wanna go and see a moom inna first place, unless the Three Stooges were in it of course!

Not exactly Griffith at his best, but then again I think this 'un runs rings 'round HEARTS OF THE WORLD which too many Canbys and Kaels out there probably consider cinema at its artiest top notch but just bored me silly with all of those lingering shots of Lillian Gish. Set on a South Seas tropical island worthy of a GILLIGAN'S ISLAND cannibal episode,  THE IDOL DANCER's all 'bout a small village where this gal of French, Java and Samoan blood (who looks pretty Caucazoid at that and she should, mainly because she's being played by a soon-to-deep-six Clarice Seymour)  lives with her grubby sea captain of a stepfather. The island is more or less being run by a New England missionary who is hell bent on changing the locals' native ways by converting 'em to Christianity. Given this guy's entire reason for existence and generally stodgy and dour manner, one could only hope that the natives would convert him and his equally sickening brood to paganism, and mighty quickly at that!

Almost simultaneously, two young men enter into "Almond Blossom"'s life...the first's a wayfaring scoundrel played by the usually over-sensitive Richard Barthelmess while the other's a nephew of the Reverend (stodgily played by Creighton Hale) who makes the usually pious doogooders in his gene pool come off like Aleister Crowley. A little bitta Almond Joy goes a long way though, and soon he's been smitten by this "loose woman" who rejects wearing the calico dress the preacher forces on her in order to make the area look a little more decent. Soon the two are vying for this Island lovely's attentions leaving us to ponder which one she will choose, the wild adventurer or the New England button-shoe'd schlep?

Meanwhile there are some evildoing tribesmen-cum-slaves on the other side of the island led by this Ernest Borgnine lookalike, and naturally the whole menagerie has their sights set on not only the bountiful treasures to be found in the village, but ol' Almond Blossom herself. While the men of the village go off on an extended fishing expedition the bad boys stage a big raid for booty of both kinds which might seem familiar to you and why not, because in fact this part of the film is pretty much the exact same climax that Griffith used in BIRTH OF A NATION a good five years earlier. I guess the guy figured why argue with success even if he did change the locale from the post-war South to the South Seas!

To be about as honest as I can muster myself up to be, I found THE IDOL DANCER rather slow going and nowhere near as engrossing as many of Griffith's other features (not to mention his early shorts which at times packed as much punch into their ten minutes as many films could in ninety). It is a nice enough presentation considering the print's strictly 1961 Blackhawk Films catalog faded look (and I will admit that the organ/piano duet used on the soundtrack is a whole lot more pleasing than the current mush used for many TCM silent productions), but the story's strictly grade b'zville and the entire gist, swerve and feel of this feature misses by a mile. It just doesn't get me at all, perhaps because I find the entire existence of the missionary and his family totally cubesville and more or less long for the wild savages to tear the entire bunch of 'em to shreds. (Kinda like the same way I just hafta take the side of the gangsters, bootleggers and degenerate sickos in many a moom considering how the good guys always seem to come off pastier than Johnny Mann!) This one character, a wild island gal who works for the Rev. yet retains a good portion of her pagan upbringing did make for good comedy relief, but otherwise I was WISHING...HOPING that the one island boy who gets into a fight with the missionary's son in one of those "My god can beat up your god" arguments woulda drowned the toffee nose...I mean, those New England Congregationalist types can get pretty annoying!

However, I gotta hand it to this one savage inna film who had me laughing out loud, this Wild Man of Borneo type who's working hand in hand with the scoundrel slave driver complete in his Screamin' Jay Hawkins garb and get this...two skulls strapped around the guy's chest that kinda makes him look as if he has two tits that look like skulls! Gotta say I thought that this guy's getup was the funniest thing in the entire flick, even funnier'n that scene where the native gal goes up to him in this weird mating ritual fashion which the title card says is an actual recreation of island courtship! Really, with a film like this who needs NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hey, how do you like this recent photo of me anyway? Yeah, it's not quite as flattering as I had hoped it woulda been plus I had my eyes closed, but you gotta admit that I really know how to flash those pearly whites o' mine! And that's just what you will be doing when you read the batch of writeups and other sundries that I've presented for your edification, or perhaps mortification for that matter. (Did I ever use that one before? I'm sure more than a few out there since the dawn of time must have!) But looking at that snap on the left does remind me of something strange...dunno if it's the slides from my recent trip to Mammoth Cave or perhaps a new Italian dish I haven't heard of yet! Kinda does look like calamari in tomato sauce which makes me wonder why the attending physician didn't sprinkle some Romano cheese on it as a practical joke!

Yeah, I know that I'm leaving myself wide open to a whole array of sneers and putdowns for posting this snap, but(t) I thought it would be rather appropriate to show you readers yet another side of me that's rarely seen by the public at large, a side that's not always delved into and in fact may even be too painful to probe. If you have any juicy witticisms to add to the above, feel free to send 'em in. Which doesn't mean I'll necessarily publish 'em, but I can sure use a whole lot more interesting jokes and asides to swipe from and claim as my own.

Before I get into the standard if not-so-inspiring reviews let me say a word or two about Facebook. Thanks to the many who wished me a happy birthday, but for some strange reason I couldn't post any direct comments thanking you for the well-wishing (or post anything else, at least comment-wise, for that matter) which is really vexing especially when some of you reg'lar commentators come up with some wingding political comments that just beg to be rectified (hmmm, shoulda worked that word into the above somewhere!). I have in the past posted a few li'l asides regarding somethingorother once in a blue ball, but frankly as far as being a huge part and parcel upfront Facebook aficionado I'm afraid that technology has somehow stumped me this time. Dunno what ever happened to the "publish" button on the comment section, but until this problem is worked out I will remain a rather frustrated li'l computer ignoramus.
Venison Whirled-XIBALBA mini-CD (Kendra Steiner Editions)

If it weren't for Bill Shute you probably wouldn't be reading anything special this weekend, for the guy actually made sure to send me a heapin' hunkin' envelope filled to the brim with not only this particular effort recorded for his very own label, but a burn of a rare Archie Shepp album (see following writeup) as well as some DVD-R's that'll probably get interspersed with the various Brad Kohler and Lou Rone items that have been taking up my ever-shrinking leisure time as of late. And this one is a doozy, twenty minutes of fine free form flanging from an act known as Venison Whirled (a name which I believe derives from what happens to a lot of deer on dark country roads), otherwise the efforts of a lass named Lisa Cameron who sure knows how to handle a whole lot of electronic equipment with the same dexterity that Marlene Dietrich had in snapping off Hattie McDaniel's bra straps!

Two songs here (yeah, Don Fellman always gets on my case for referring to compositions or any sort of musical endeavors with the vague and misleading terminology of "songs", but can you think of a better way for me to keep up my image as an earthy, uneducated yet maniacal fan and follower of the free bop? Besides, I always forget what word I am supposed to use!). "Dark Rift" features Cameron on a lap steel guitar and Tibetan bowl, which I guess is the thing that the Dalai Lama relieves himself in since his b.m.'s are sacred unlike our stinking offal and they gotta be kept somewhere special. If you can imagine Jimmy Page bowing his guitar with an electric carving knife while running it through an ARP you might get an idea of what this one sounds like. You might also get a good idea of just how dry the well of creative comparisons in my mind has become these past few eons, but then again that's my problem not yours.

"Vortex Compression" is an equally haunting number, perhaps even a downright calmer as it is nothing but electronic tones akin to a pretty hip refrigerator turning itself on which helps unwind the knots in your neck and clip off the split ends of your nerves like nothing since Valium. A good late-night relaxer which, according to the back cover, was performed on an "amplified space/time membrane". Hope that's not what I THINK it is!

Bill gave us a pretty good 'un with this Whirling Venison offering. You know where to get it (check the blog link ups on the left!) and you know you'll have to hurry, since there were only 89 of these buggers pressed and I'll betcha they're gonna sell faster'n pirohy in Youngstown!

The other Shute giveaway, and an expected ear-opener at that considering how alla these small label Euro Shepp albums always had a certain raw gut feel to 'em that was lacking on the Impulse albums I've heard. This 'un was recorded 10/21/67, just over four months after the death of Big Daddy of 'em all John Coltrane (a guy I definitely would appreciate a whole lot more if only dweeb hippie types and ditzy fru fru religions didn't seem intent on making him a bloody saint which his personal life would tend to say otherwise), and you can hear the angst of it all strongly in Shepp's angry playing, which this time seems a whole lot angrier'n it had been and would be once the black power mantra became a little more driving and perhaps downright seditious!

One track here split over two sides, and it's appropriately titled "One For Trane" which I guess predates all of those other Coltrane tribs that began pouring out for a good five or so years after his own deep-sixing. It's a fitting one too starting off with this percussion workout soon abetted by the bass of Coltrane alumni Jimmy Garrison and some trombone intercession (there are two of 'em here, Shepp regular and token whitey Roswell Rudd's and Grachan Moncur III) before Shepp himself enters into the picture playing some pretty fringe scree before gettin' all soulzy just like we like him. Mood goes from dark to flippant and fast, and given the high energy quotient of this set and Shepp's own imaginative stylings it's not hard to see just how much the MC5 were swiping ideas left and right not only from Shepp but a good hunk of the players on the new thing circuit which only goes to show you just how far back the avant garde jazz and punk rock continuum was intertwining even before anyone was smart enough to give it a name!

One final thing, the drummer on this set's none other than Shepp regular and eventual leader in his own right Beaver Harris. Fellmen was telling me a funny story about how Harris earned his unique nickname, and it wasn't because the guy has buck teeth or anything along those lines! Let's just say that ol' Don thought that Harris should have had another nickname, but given the family orientation of this blog I will refrain from divulging it unless I am invited to speak at a sex education seminar or perhaps a Lamb's Club smoker!
Various Artists-BEAT THIS; THE BROOKLYN BEAT COMPILATION cassette (Brooklyn Beat)

I've already prattled on many a time about how I'm more'n willing to take a chance on some obscure New York-area underground obscurity from the seventies on if only to discover what could be a really great albeit unheralded act that shoulda made it as big as alla them winners who made flea market and bargain bin hunting all the better throughout the 1976-1983 season. And true, I might not exactly be lookin' for a new Velvet Underground or Television in the batch, but I'd be more'n happy if I could latch hold of a new Sidewinders or Hackamore Brick. Yeah, many of the groups that I do get to hear fall way short of the, er, proper criteria, but I have the feeling that the ways the odds are I'm just BOUND to hear a group that'll certainly snap the synapses in my cranium more sooner than later.

Foolhardy chance-taker that I am, I decided to latch onto this particular cassette collection that came out during the certainly non-underground friendly year of 1990. Considering that these acts were being pushed by a small local label and that many of the acts here have popped up on various CBGB bills t'boot, I just had this strange feeling that some might've captured that certain oomph that made for rather interesting outta-the-way listening. And hey, for years I've been looking for more'n a few groups that would've excited even jaded me this long after rock 'n roll as a fabled youth movement had become deader'n Chuck Eddy's writing career! Yeah, I did get the feeling that the strange spectre of eighties MTV-era music "criteria" would ooze into the mix, but I figured that if I could enjoy various new wave-y efforts by a number of seventies survivors of worth (Velveteen, Comateens...) maybe I could derive some pleasure outta these local yokels who were probably aiming for the same big time that got the Del Fuegos endorsing beer back when nobody even knew who the guys were!

Needless to say, there really ain't any new Hackamore Bricks or even Tuff Darts on this sampler of "Brooklyn Beat" acts. A durn shame considerin' the ever-growin' hunger inside of me (or is that just my musical tapeworm acting up?) that's making me yearn for the return of Richard Robinson with a greater vengeance'n anything! Most if not all's just reeking that typical En Why mid/late-eighties style, definitely post-seventies underground accomplishment yet nothing near as exciting as a Thundertrain or Manster for that matter. Yet it ain't exactly of the ginchy goochy  eighties glop wave that made me discharge of a good portion of my late-seventies collection figurin' that any music that could lead to the gunk being produced during the eighties perhaps wasn't as forward looking and cutting edge as all of those high class rock critics said it was.

To be totally honest (as opposed to being just halfway honest in order to spare your easily bruised feelings) the tracks which had some definite sixties garage influx and pop sensibilities did sound fine enough for me to seek out yet another Brooklyn Beat collection recorded live at where else but CBGB, Formaldehyde Blues Train, the Original Rays and the Squirrels from Hell fell enough into this category to have me thinkin' that maybe they woulda fared better with a more 1976 frame of mind 'stead of the mid-eighties production values that were pumped into this effort. The Moe had a good handle on pseudo-reggae protest pop, while Frank's Museum and Marcel Monroe actually came off palatable once I got the sleek ooze of their def. 1986 pop orientations outta my system.

Even old pros Jing and Chemical Wedding whom I've written about before sound nice albeit not as strong as they were on that CBGB sampler that came out a few years earlier. And yeah, the kinda post-wave pop which appears on this tape that was trying to retain some semblance of seventies grit doesn't always work and in fact drove me to fits of rage at the time, but given a good quarter-century rose-colored rear-view mirror lookbacks I now find acts like these way more engaging than they were in the mid-eighties. Considering just what there was on the eighties under-the-counterculture scene during that grade zilch decade maybe I shoulda been paying more attention to groups like these and less towards the ever-flagging pseudo-garage band revival as well as the hippie hardcore rantings and ravings of people I wouldn't trust to run a brothel let alone an entire nation, but then again given what a structural mess eighties punkitude was I'm lucky I got to hear what I did so maybe I should keep my trap shut just this once!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


After alla them artzy/snoozy furrin films that Brad Kohler's been sending me, I thought for once that (in order to regain sanity) I'd better take to viewing something more up my quite expansive alley! And for that I figured why not try some of them films that Lou Rone send my way last Christmas roundup! These particular outings came from a collection called BIG SCREEN BOMBSHELLS, a collection which from what I can tell consists of nothing but flicks that were released via the kindness and goodness of those fine film conny-sewers Crown International Pictures. And just one look at this collection of drive in wares will probably make you recall your own wasted youth of drive-in debauchery (y'know, makin' out when you coulda been watchin' a good moom pitcher!); for me it sure brings back memories of mid-seventies pouring through the old CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER FRIDAY MAGAZINE supplement where lurid ads for such wonders would frequently appear to tantalize the durty boy in alla us. And let me tell you, those ads were some of the most degrading, disturbing things to show up in that paper's weekend arts and leisure read, at least until the appearance of Anastasia Pantsios that is.

POLICEWOMEN's a realy mid-seventies period piece, and while I was watching this 'un I could just imagine myself sitting in a reconditioned '63 Valiant on my lonesome while all of the other vehicles were sprouting female legs flying way up inna air. This 'un stars zilcher Sandra Currie as a liberated kinda police gal who wants to hit the big time and help the Male Chauvinist Pig-dominated force capture a gang of curvaceous gold smugglers led by a craggy old lady and her muscle-building showhubby. Nice turns here and there and better yet a good 1974 sense of cheese abounds, but if this 'un's hardly "a gritty police action flick" as the Dee-Vee-Dee cover come on says. In fact, I've had grittier bowel movements, which only proves to you that too much bran can wreak havoc with your hershey highway.

But still it's got it all from the flaunting gals of the gang to a racially-charged kung fu catfight and those tender bedroom scenes which always made the school gals woo and pine tellin' us all how beautiful they were when all I wanted to do was hit the snack counter. Y 'know, hand on bare back and moaning roll over stuff accompanied by cheezy string glop that always was a good way to kill a few minutes. But then it was back to the action and the martial arts and a plot that pretty much was lifted and changed from some late-forties b-movie western with some occasional titzenazz tossed in to liven up the party. Really, this would be the perfect movie for all of ya spiritual adolescent jagoffs whose biggest thrills came in a hula-girl laden issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC with no saggies even!

For those looking for even more pulchritude on their personal player CHAIN GANG WOMEN might be the ticket. Yet another one of those Deep South Justice kinda thrillers which seemed to reach their climax with the appearance of the ever-popular MACON COUNTY LINECHAIN GANG WOMEN features the saga of a Georgian youth  who's serving time for a li'l wheelin'/dealin' matters ifyaknowaddamean who gets "volunteered" to the local chain gang where he's shackled up with a psycho murderer. When the entire gang makes a run for it the pair head for the kids' gal's place where the killer gets to peek in on the action goin' on between the two lovebirds and figures that Miss Palm and her Five Sisters just ain't enough anymore. From there on in its a tale of escape, rape and even some more action when the pair happen across a lonesome farm where some old geezer's gettin' more action than any of you could stand from his teenage bride who's lookin' for something a li'l younger to sate her primal mores. Naturally it's been done better before and even cheaper, but the low budget feeling and general everyday style of CHAIN GANG WOMEN  makes this 'un a film one can relate to. In fact, I could see a typically butchered copy of this ending up on some 1978-vintage lateshow, the kind where they always cut the boob 'n butt scenes out but forget to censor the coarse language. Sometimes they even forgot to edit the b-n-b which always was cause for joy amongst those of us who were more or less starved for some real titty action and watchin' 'em unload the casabas at Kroger's just wasn't fillin' the bill!

A couple of nice 'uns here (actually, more'n just a "couple"...hee!) that have that nice early-mid-seventies feeling that could only make somebody like me want to absorb the better portions of that era (Stooges, CREEM, indie tee-vee...) and toss alla the pukka shell curtains, "relevant" youth mutterings and mood rings into the dumpster of eternal feh where they belong! And yeah, those days are long gone and for those of you who lived through 'em they musta been a drag, but in retrospect this point in history was the last one where total smarm could will out long before the chintzy cheerfulness of the eighties ruined gulcher for good! If your taste for the seventies runs more towards gettin' your film cues from CREEM 'stead of TIME I have the feeling that you, like might actually enjoy this double bill!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I am not a liberal, but boy do I feel guilty! Guilty about still not being able to deliver on one of those old-timey in-depth blogposts that's just dripping with rare and pertinent information that's begin jetted from my obviously overworked brain to yours. Now, I must admit that I did have this extremely long, controversial and naturally thought-provoking post all packed and rarin' to go, but at the last minute (next to last, actually) I thought the thing needed a pretty good overhaul before it would be ready for your eyes to see. So that one'll have to wait until it's met my exacting standards of approval at which time it will be used either on a weekend where I really don't have anything special to say (and yeah, I can hear you naysayers champing at the bit about that straight line!) or when I'm away on biz or something equally noteworthy. Until then, chomp down on these discarded morsels of musical legacy gone by.

The Droogs-WANT SOMETHING LP (Skyclad)

Back inna late eighties, I seriously thought that groups like the Droogs were the only hope that we (meaning the remnants of whatever became of high energy rock fandom) had as far as returning rock et roll to its original, gnarly intent. Shows you what kind of a wild-eyed fanatic I sure used to be, but really, what groups out there (at least those who had the facilities to release produce) WERE fighting in the battle against squeaky-clean eighties aesthetics whether they be post-disco gnu wave, fluff metal, material gurl posturing and whatever else there was that made that decade such a tooth-pulling drag to live through? Sure there were plenty of worthwhile acts pounding the eighties pavement, but given the total miasma of those times how many of 'em really had a chance to make a difference? Did the Droogs have a chance to make a difference? Twennysome years later I gotta say that, despite all of the hard work and altruism and trying to create a rock-inspired kultur or scene to exist in, it all eventually went down the crapper of good intentions and naturally we're all the poorer for it.

Not that groups like the Droogs didn't give it more of the ol' college (radio) try, and on WANT SOME they sure knew how to rock out even if the mode of the music was speaking in more Bobby McFerrin kinda terms. Powerful high energy rock with more than just the sixties garage roots of the band showing. Imagine the second MC5 album filtered through the Flamin' Groovies circa Kama Sutra with perhaps a little nudge of what the Sonics should've sounded like around 1968, and what's even more surprising about it is that on this 'un the Albin/Clay team are supported by various Dream Syndicate special guests, and those guys're one act that I gave up on early in THEIR career. Maybe if at least four other acts sounding like this made their way into my record collection at the time I wouldn't keep thinking about how dismal the entire eighties/nineties/oughts era was for my own sense of personal being!

But its' a pretty great 'un from a group I kinda wish made more of a noise in the seventies back when their indie singles were boss enough that even mainstream mags would mention 'em in their "look, I'm hip" moments of inspiration. Considerin' just how much I've ben ignorin' this group's latterday efforts it's probably a good time to do an in-depth record dive and try to excavate everything that I can...
Screamin' Jay Hawkins-ITTY BITTY PRETTY ONE LP (Koala)

I always used to wonder about this Koala label outta Hendersonville TN which used to issue grey bordering on black market albums back in the v. late seventies A company  known for hijacking various old rarities and slapping cheap generic covers on 'em, Koala has issued, amongst a set of mid-sixties vintage Fendermen tracks presumably recorded in Canada as well as various Monkees demos, this collection of some Screamin' Jay Hawkins hens teeth material. Turns out these crafty pseudo-bootleggers merely copped the 1972 release PORTRAIT OF A MAN AND HIS WOMAN (Hot Line) and halved it up, the other part being their LAWDY MISS CLAWDY album which has continued to evade my grasps but whadevva, chances are you ain't gonna be able to find the original and this one just might still be cheapo enough to latch onto via ebay or maybe even some outta-the-way record rack inna middle of Fartsville that still seems to be wallowing somewhere in the age of 8-Tracks.

It's still a mandatory winner though, not only with the title track (authorship credited to Mr. Hawkins) but a moving, operatic "It's Only Make Believe" as well as some throbbing r&b originals including the side one closer "Same Damn Thing" which really gets the heart a' pumpin'. Recording quality is good enough in that old pre-pristine style, while the instrumental backing does a good job of taking the Hawkins style from the beer can fifties into the creaky early-seventies with some typical SHAFT wacka-wacka guitar thrown in here and a li'l wah wah nodes there. But it still sounds as 1959 exciting as a suburban shopping plaza complete with a 99-cent theatre and department store that smells like buttered popcorn. A verifiable winner that I hope has made it into the digital age intact if only for the sake of humanity.
Mickey Hawks-BIM BAM BOOM LP (Sun Jay, Sweden)

After reading the HOUND BLOG appreciation of the Mickey Hawks and the Nightriders sides last year I just hadda latch onto this rather important North  Carolinian's contribution to the world of proto-punk faster than you can say "Bomp Records Credit Slip"! Looked near and far for his recordings and almost gave up hope until...while pouring through years of neglected wax I discovered that I already owned the thing! And hey, get this but I probably even reviewed it somewhere down the line!!! It only goes to show you what a sieve I have for brains anymore...sheesh, I thought that I knew my records as if they were my children and I often can remember the day, time and even situation when I picked up a classic album back during my young 'n impressionable days, but for the life of me I didn't remember latching onto this 'un at all!

Addle-mindedness aside, Sun Jay's BIM BAM BOOM is a decent enough collection of those early sides, even the one with Richard Speck lookalike Moon Mullins taking over the act for a 1960 single side! Overall the music is loud and pounding rock 'n' roll which does fit in with what the creme-de-la-punks were cranking out back in the late-Ike/early-JFK era around the same time pop was beginning to take some strange and perhaps incomprehensible turns. A correlation with the pounding garage bands of the Northwest could easily be drawn up, especially when you consider just how much the Nightriders and the NW groups were swiping ideas left and right from Little Richard and his compats. And Hawks' voice does fit in with the late-fifties screamin' rocker types, and given one listen to his gruff growling it's really not that hard to make a connection between the Nighthawks and various mid-sixties aggregates such as the Sonics who still had a foot in the late-fifties while driving the mid-sixties sound into even harsher territory.

One big caveat: most of this album is in fact taken up by more recent recordings, some from the late-sixties and early-seventies which were released on small labels as well as others from the mid-seventies to late-eighties which didn't see the light of day until this album's release in the early nineties. In a nutshell these numbuhs really don't cut the headcheese either taking on more of a late-sixties mid-South local studio production feel (such as the track where Hawks duets with an unidentified femme) or just plainly reek perhaps too much homage to Hawks' fifties r 'n' b heroes like Fats Domino w/o adding anything special or exciting to the legend. Yes Hawks is a talent and you can tell he really likes the black New Orleans sound much more than he does his own Southern white musical roots, but it's not like you'd ever be moved emotionally or spiritually by his takes on such chestnuts (as Jane Scott used to say) as "Mother In Law". Maybe there's an all-inclusive collection of pre-British Invasion era single and unreleased sides lurking out there, and if it fills its grooves with the hotcha stuff and omits the newer filler I'm all for latching onto a copy myself!
The Who-LAUGH TO KEEP FROM CRYING LP (Marquee bootleg)

 Hardly ever get to drag this eighties-vintage boot out, but just this evening I did just that. Supposedly recorded live at the Marquee in '63, this is reputedly High Numbers era Who back during their r 'n' b days churning it out pretty hard and heavy romping through one future elpee track ("Here Tis") and a slew of pretty extreme for the time standards that kinda stymie you considering how the Who would become pretty intricate themselves within a few years time. Daltrey sounds particularly rough here trying to imitate aging black singers with ten packs a day habits and the ability to drink gasoline even if they ask for water, which the rest of the group play so primitive it they make the Troggs sound like they were practicing! Sound ain't that bad despite one big tape mangle, and overall one of those great bootlegs that nobody seems to remember, or even acknowledges to exists for all I know!
The Holy Modal Rounders-ALLEGED IN THEIR OWN TIME LP (Rounder)

Y'know, I got to thinking after spinnin' one of the Muscular Christians platters (actually their debut DAN MARINO IMPORTANT MESSAGE) just how much I've ignored this particular Rounders album for quite a longer time than I'm sure any of us could care to imagine. Like maybe twenty or even twenty one years for that matter??? Well, tossing personal shame aside I decided to slip this one onto the ol' Sphinctrola and see just how well it holds up, and given the timeless urban folkie growling sound and style of this 'un it sure sounds as fresh off the shelf as the day I snatched it up! That's no mere feat in a world of instant garbage (and bland, unfunny garbage at that!) passing as music that's supposed to speak to you as a throbbing, overactive human sort of being.

Good folkitude here coutesy of Mssrs. Stampfel, Weber, Robin Remailly and former Insect Trust Luke Faust, and they all do the hipster folk trip here just as good as when it was first being laid down in early-sixties beatno joints where the battle lines between the kumbaya crowd and the narcotics brigade were being drawn up. Lotsa old time Rounder faves were first fermented here ("Low Down Dog", "Sunday Morning" and "Voodoo Queen Marie" amongst 'em), and they sure sound good in that old-timey acoustic manner which thankfully still retains the New York gutter credo these renditions were born of. True, this might not be the hard-buzz high energy rock et roll you so desire, but this sure ain't Melanie and Jame Taylor mewling their liberation anthems either!

Don't let the looks of Stampfel and Weber in hippie shag fool you, this is the down 'n dirty New York transplanted Okie folk with proper psychedelicizations that you've been quite accustomed to for a longer time than you'll ever remember. And the back cover notes about how it was the Rounders who in fact INSPIRED the Rounder label are quite informative...too bad the enclosed "X-Rated"  notes by Stampfel and longtime collaborator Antonia were missing from my copy...guess the Vice Squad got to it long before I did, right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! DODES'KA-DEN (1970, directed by Akira Kurosawa)

I wonder exactly what motivated Brad Kohler to send a Dee-Vee-Dee burn of this particular pelicula my way. I mean, a film like this ain't exactly the kinda sit down 'n eat snacks evening fare that I surely would have liked to have enjoyed the same way I watch ABBOTT & COSTELLO. It really is bugging me...what was it that drove Kohler to even consider having me watch an arthouse kinda foreign film like this anyway? I guess it's because he's still mad at me for a "hot" racing tip I gave him to dump all of his hard-begged on "Marcia's Honey" in the eighth...I always so go for them horses with the double entendre names and gosh, I thought that a horse with a track record of ten straight lag-behinds just hadda be due in typical b-movie win the race or lose the farm fashion!!!

DODES'KA-DEN is an onomatopea, and that's about all it is to me since this Japanese moom is nothing but the boring antics of some down and outers who happen to live in an automobile graveyard somewhere in the Land of the Rising Prices. Y'know, the ins and outs of these losers in life and how their existences intertwine and interact and all of that UP WITH PEOPLE jive. Not that the characters themselves are bad...I kinda liked the old guy named Shima who wears a 1940's-styled suit who has the occasional tics which are supposed to make him a sympathetic character, or lovable, or at least something like that. He kinda reminds me of the people I used to see when I was a li'l boy, like this old guy who always wore these suits that made him look like Lt. Trask on PERRY MASON, who drove this late-forties auto for years because he got it when he retired and believed it was to be his last car, and it would be only he ended up living for a good thirtysome years or so afterwords! Maybe they shoulda made a moom about him, because acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa just has his characters lump around and nag and tease each other without any real oomph to get us lumpen audience members to feel anything about 'em whatsoever.

Hokay, so maybe I ain't up on foreign film exquisiteness or any of that beret and stale doritos kultur ("the scene where the samurai chops the head off the peasant is a keen swipe at the Fukobayashi political scandal of 1957 blah blah snooze snooze...") so maybe I should keep my trap shut and my fingers offa da keyboard. But I won't. And maybe plenty is lost in the translation, but for the life o' me I can't feel a thing for the crazy guy who thinks he's a trolley car conductor or the downtrodden wives who have to put up with drunken husbands. I guess the ennui and the pathos and all of those things film critics love might be part of the entire appeal for their stodgy selves, but for me it always made for quick channel clicking.

Really, Japan has done much better in the past whether it be the string of exciting monster movies to even ULTRA MAN, but when it's done worse it's been better than this stew. Heck, I'll take SKINNY AND FATTY (kiddie art snob cinema) over this 'un or even THE (original) LOWER DEPTHS if only because that gal with the bangs who plays the doom and gloom husband's better half is really hotcha looking, kinda like Mika from the Sadistic Mika Band when her hair was nice 'n bobbed. Heck, I'll bet that even THE VAGINA THAT ATE TOKYO's a total winner next to this 'un, though since my subscription to PSYCHOTRONIC VIDEO lapsed there's no way that I could find out!

There's one bitta redeeming value to all of this, and that's this wrecked out automobile that this old greasy coot who dreams of owning his own mansion and his young son who's equally greasy live in. It's of thirties/forties vintage and really sleek looking, with a bit of the thirties French style in what's left of its magnificent body. If any enthusiasts out there can identify the make of this particular vehicle please let me know as soon as possible!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Continuing with my summer series of half-hearted and rather weak-spined posts here are a number of items that have graced my ears since last week. A few newies here, maybe an oldie and who knows, I might even catch the spirit and surprise you with something outta left field even if at this point in time I'd be lucky to get by with a bunt. Which is, perhaps the best term I can think of to describe the situation I find my life in at this stage of the game!

Naturally when I first discovered the existence of these guys (via some old CBGB listings, always a good place to seek out rock obscurities whether worthy or not from the seventies on) I had 'em figured as being just another buncha p-rock scrunchers who were more or less one of the half-million or so underground acts to've made their way through the New York environs since the days of the original under-the-cover bands. After noting their appearance opening for Bo Diddley at some rival venue I thought otherwise...turns out that this group, despite the rather undue attention-grabbing moniker, were pretty much into the much-heralded roots  movement and had put this rarity of a platter out in the meantime. And it's a really great showcase too featuring Mr. Miserable and company romping through a variety of styles old and new and with some surprising results in store for us totally unaware doofuses.

Gotta admit that some of this did kinda float by me due to a more'n common new wave cum fifties sound that had local bar bands donning thin ties and white shirts, but most of the wormitude to be found here is rather authentic, listenable and downright adjective-inducing in a positive way. Lots of this will recall various seventies purveyors of the fifties way of living from the Kama Sutra-era Flamin' Groovies to the New Legion Rock Spectacular and even if there seems to be a certain tinge of "eighties" permeating the tracks I can ignore it if just this once. Highlight's a raving cover of the Treniers' "Rockin' Is Our Business" which might prove that rock 'n roll perhaps did die in 1953, and what we've been hearing for the past fiftysome years is nothing but an alien life form that managed to overtake the stenching corpse. Well, that would explain Lady Caga.

Here''s another one I discoverd thanks to pouring through old CBGB listings, an early-eighties offering from experimental composer Linda Hudes who at that time was not only one of the many musicians passing through the Love of Life Orchestra but was leading her own trio on the side. Now, the "power trio" portion of the tag might be a bit misleading considering how the term always seemed to denote a guitar/bass guitar/drums lineup, but I ain't gonna hold it against her for labeling her act as such. And besides, this ain't anything as doldrums as Triumph so why should I pick nits anyway? As you might guess, this 'un does have much of that early-eighties En Why See sound and feel to it and if you were one of those who had an interest in the LOLO then you'll probably like this

'un just as much. Not quite as disco-wave (yet still interesting) as the Orchestra's EXTENDED NICETIES platter but I thought it was a pretty good spin and take on the early-eighties En Why underground, with an electronic keyboard sound assisted by trumpet and drums making for something a little bit outta the ordinary. Kinda like Rhys Chatham in spots, with a little Love of Life here and there and quite pleasing in its subdued, even artsy way. Thankfully the early-eighties ultra-dreaded pretension factor is toned way down with a clearer, experimental approach to "new music" firmly in place and you don't feel like a pretentious twat listening to it like you did with a whole lotta other new wave fodder of the day!. And hey, what else are you gonna wanna be spending your eight dollars on these days...or let me put it this way...what else is there for you to spend your eight dollars on anyway???

SOME U.S.; FIVE-FIFTY ($5 Director's Cut) (chapbooks by Jim D. Deuchars)

If I were some kinda intellectual yet tough gutsy streetwise writer along the lines of Studs Terkel or Norman Mailer complete with raincoat I'd probably rant and rev about Deuchar's tough and gutsy writing abilities and how the guy really could take a word and spin it in ways that makes cotton candy look like Molly Ringworm's hair. I could but I won't because hey, I don't even own a raincoat! But this Deutchers guy is a pretty good relayer of inner ungh and someone who even makes a guy who thinks a lotta this poesy's just more jive to toss at the beret and stale doritos crowd wanna sit up and take notice. I mean, I'm one guy who'd sure like to know just exactly who this Zelda Sayer woman was, or who "America's Newest Tom Mix John Wayne hero" is for that matter. And hey, he's even got my attention held a whole lot more'n that Bill Shute guy ever did!  (Betcha sorry you ever gave me these chapbooks, eh Bill???)

All funnin' aside both of these typically ltd. ed. collections do have a few (actually, more'n a few) interesting bright spots to 'em...FIVE-FIFTY's a selection of personal musings and reminiscences including the one where Deuchars sits at the grave of the aforementioned Mrs. Sayer who reportedly burned to death some 39 years back. Lotsa questions do arise, like what does Deutchars have to do with this woman and why is he "resting at (his) lover's breast"??? Part travelogue and part inner turmoil catharsis, this one does hold interest esp. during the evening chairside music listening sessions that usually get the old fanzine treatment. And it is comforting to know that Deuchars was a soda jerk at one point in time just like the rest of us (talkin' the jerk part at least).

Speaking of travelogues, SOME U. S. is kinda like a travelogue of sorts yet in no certain terms is this another dullsville trip through Ameriga  like TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE!!! In fact, I wish my High School English teacher (Sophomore year) woulda had us read this read 'stead of that Steinbeck snoozer because frankly, this does enlight and inspire a whole lot more. Well, at least it wasn't A SEPARATE PEACE, but bad teaching decisions aside SOME U. S.  is a swing through the Western portion of them thar United States as seen through the pen of Deuchars, a swing which surprisingly recalls trips through the same terrain I made on a fambly trip during my barely-into-the-double-digit days only the stuff I seem to recall are the motel rooms and local tee-vee shows as well as eating hush puppies with my fish dinners. If I ever put out a chapbook THIS is the stuff that will be mentioned, but in Deuchar's world it's the dark and dank still of the natural landscape. Kinda moving at times, kinda eh at others, but as the pundits say a force to be reckoned with.

Bill Shute might have some (see KSE linkup on left) but if I were he I'd burn all of the copies that I had if only to save my own skin! Again all kidding aside, these books are pretty indicative of a talented wordspinner who certainly's going the starving artist route and hey, even a thick skuller like myself can ooze some nice pathos and deep down feeling outta these. YOU won't but then again I've given up second guessing the thoughts and actions of you reg'lar readers looooong ago!
Les Rallizes Denudes-LE 12 MARS 1977 A TACHIKAWA 2-CD set  (Over Level, France)

It's kinda funny thinking that with the way I've been pouring through tons of Les Rallizes Denudes Cee-Dee box sets and reissues of varying quality I haven't touched this, the first easily-available Denudes reissue, perhaps since I first purchased the item a good decade or so back. And since I've been wearing all of my other Denudes platters down to a nub I figure why not give this 'un, a set which I'm sure introduced most of you to the sounds of this long-lived Japanese underground rock aggregation, yet another go? Well, it would be a better (and cheaper) bet than re-buying up all of those recent reissues of the Phoenix label that I've already had for quite some time.

Great sound and a pretty good selection of the standard Denudes set of the day. Includes all of the show stoppers that were part and parcel to the seventies Denudes set including their grande finale "The Last One" which features that same ominous riff for a good twenny-five-plus minutes. Also standing out are such winners as "Fire Ice" which also takes the repeato-riff base mode  and tops it off with some fanatastic distorto feedback screech courtesy Takashi Mizutani and of course that one with the imitation fifties riff that reminds me of something Peter Laughner might have whipped up in his spare time. Overall the performance ain't as grabbing as some of the other shows floating around but hey, it's here and it's NOW (Forced Exposure has 'em) and if you never heard the group before well like, this could be a good place to start.
An interesting bit of whimsy that seems to be making more and more sense as time bubbles on:
There was Mr. Edward Carpenter, who thought we should in a very short time return to Nature, and live simply and slowly as the animals do. And Edward Carpenter was followed by James Pickie, D.D. (of Pocohontas College), who said that men were immensely improved by grazing, or taking their food slowly and continuously, after the manner of cows. And he said that he had, with the most encouraging results, turned city men out on all fours in a field covered with veal cutlets. Then Tolstoy and the Humanitarians said that the world was growing more merciful, and therefore no one would ever desire to kill. And Mr. Mick not only became a vegetarian, but at length declared vegetarianism doomed (“shedding,” as he called it finely, “the green blood of the silent animals”), and predicted that men in a better age would live on [Pg 17] nothing but salt. And then came the pamphlet from Oregon (where the thing was tried), the pamphlet called “Why should Salt suffer?"-Gilbert Kenneth Chesterton; THE NAPOLEON OF NOTTING HILL
YEAH, I KNOW THAT LISTENING TO OTHER PEOPLE'S DREAMS CAN BE BORING UNLESS YOU HAPPEN TO BE IN THE DREAM, but this 'un was so vivid as well as rockist-oriented (thus adhering to the strict confines of this blog) that I just hadda relay it to ya. I was watching, in typical mid-sixties slightly faded video/kinescope quality, a rock 'n' roll film that I believe was shot in England (given the number of British Invasion-era types of artists who were appearing in it)  whose title I forget, but at one point during the dream I believed I was watching THE TAMI SHOW if only because I could swear having just seen the Barbarians doing "Hey Little Bird" complete with the imitation Beatle bow at the end. But what I clearly remember viewing in this film was amazing, from wild r/b to other strangeities. Amongst the latter was this one act that looked as if middle-aged Englishmen, some pretty craggy at that, had grown their hair into Prince Valiant cuts (the singer/guitarist even sporting a moustache), took up rock instruments, and sang some old war song about battles gone by! There were even signs above each of the members giving their names as if this would turn the screaming teenage audience onto 'em the same way flashing the names of each Beatle on that one ED SULLIVAN appearance would only impact the entire craziness of it all.

But the wildest act to be seen in this film was that of Johnny Mansell, who while a typically Ray Charles "What'd I Say" riff progressed was seen standing up playing a small drum kit akin to the one the Feelies used to sport on the side of their stage setup! And get this, he was playing it with mallets whose tips looked like toilet floats, and while he was banging away at his little set while standing up Maureen Tucker-style two female members of the band came on in evening gowns and fancy sixties hairdos, one heading for the grand piano in back of Mr. Mansell while the other grabbed what looked like an electric lyre (not an autoharp!) which was made from the body of a Fender electric bass guitar, began fiddling with the dials and controls thus creating this weird electronic sound before she began plucking it with professional ease!

The other part of the dream had to do with a strange war movie I was watching which I believe took place during the Korean conflict where an American solider contemplates whether or not to murder a prisoner of war he took in due to logistics. He's either contemplating making a deal with him to run away and give him a "head start" so he would at least have a fighting chance to survive, or just shoot him outright. The thing is, he's become friends with his prisoner which makes it all the harder on him. Part of the movie had an artsy, surrealistic scene dealing with Chairman Mao and some old-fashioned marionettes that looked as if they were constructed during the 1940's even if their dress was more or less out of the 1890's. Kinda Godard-ish if those clips I've seen of his films can be believed.
After reading all of the above the only thought that crosses my mind is...wotta disappointment!!! But hey, if you think next weekend's post is gonna be any better, maybe you better dream on a whole lot more than I have been these past few weeks! And I don't think that Johnny Mansell's gonna be hanging around anywhere near your cranium!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I mighta told you this already, but according to none other'n Don Fellman noted no wave musician Rudolph Grey really wants to murder those nerks who used to make "above it all" wizecracks while classic late-nite tee-vee fodder was being shown on their MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 series. According to Mr. Fellman, Grey vented these opinions if only because of the MST3K crew's haughty and snide attitudes that have been made towards what Grey considers some of the better cinematic endeavors seen within the past one-hundred years. And really, who can blame him? You do get the suspicion that the creator of this series (which I thankfully missed out on because we didn't get cable until all of those hotcha cable shows all the highbrow slumsters like were long gone) was one of those litsy college pseudo-intellectual types who used to wax eloquent about all of that GE COLLEGE BOWL brainy quap until some magazine article clued him in to the hipness of liking "bad" cinema for the sake of satire, or laughing at the rubes, or something along those lines. Or better yet, the sake of cashing in on the up-'n'-coming "bad movie" trend and raking in piles of dough. Yeah, definitely the latter! I mean, you could see "Executive Producer" himself chortling along to those androids' snide-o remarks regarding tons of  celluloid marvels that wowed kids on theater and tee-vee screens for ages (and continues to do so!) while he takes in some lesbian film festival that he chanced upon via THE VILLAGE (retch!) VOICE with a deep tone of sincerity as if his actions are as self-sacrificing and as pure as fighting fascism or at least kicking in the spiritual asses of hicks who like the movies that are run on MST3K! It would figure because really, do you think that these kinda people who up their noses at fun films even had childhoods, or adolescences for that matter?

What does all of this have to do with CATALINA CAPER? Not much other'n this was one of the films that the MYSTERY SCIENCE guys decided to skewer which should be proof enough of its irresistible suburban slob appeal! And it is a good one too (stood the ultimate film test---that is how well it works on humid Sunday afternoons!) starring none other'n Tommy Kirk (who I guess took Unca Walt's advice and learned to like women and like them now!) as some nerdoid Arizonian who hangs out with some typical SoCal blowdries heading their way to Catalina for some fun 'n' sun in typical bikini movie fashion. Meanwhile, an ancient and valuable Chinese scroll has been stolen by a typically bumbling trio who plan to sell a forgery of it to a Greek shipping tycoon who has in his employ none other than Lyle Waggoner of CAROL BURNETT SHOW fame. While all of this is goin' on, that guy who used to play Exidor on MORK AND MINDY is spying on the goings on while adding even more comic relief to a film just brimming full of it whether you wanted any or not.

But who really cares because this works on a nice lower-level if only for the gals in swimsuits (some of whom do have nice looking juggins) dazzling with those shake up 'n' down dances as well as the music including Little Richard doing what he loves best (appearing in low-budget bikini movies), Carol Conners, and the Cascades of "Rhythm of the Rain" fame covering the Kinks! And the plot and direction is on par at least with the competing AIP produce of which this clearly a neat swipe of. Naturally a film like this was begging for a Vincent Price or at least Robert Cummings, but the fun geek-like buzz is still extant no matter what smartass androidal film elitists masquerading as downhome trash gulch lovers might want you to believe! Four Star material here, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Like I said last weekend, don't expect too much. But, as usual, I decided to give you a little more than what you would have been expecting even if it was hardly anything, resulting in this typically long (winded) edition detailing my opines on a slew of records you and I have listened to consistently o'er the course of the past seventy-five years. Well, I just HADDA do something to keep myself occupied here in the beyond-zombiesque teens, and do something I did mainly spend more'n an inordinate amt. of time pouring through years of vinyl goodies that I thought should stimulate my stirrups given the lack of fresh gunch being made available these days. Of course some of the choices to be found are what you might call a li'l too obvious, but think of it as being my own personal LAST WORD on the subject as if any and all discussion regarding said classic album shall end immediate-like and right now I so do decree!  Sheesh, watching Vincent Price in QUEEN OF THE NILE last week's really done something to me!
Nothing much else to report to you order to stave off boredom I've been pouring through my storage box filled with those early/mid-nineties vintage EC reprints which have been bound into nice POPULAR MECHANICS-dimensioned collections making for handy reading. A nice diversion if any, but then again I sure don't get the same testicular tingle outta these that I did when I was reading those "East Coast" reprints of the same material back in the mid-seventies. Come to think of it, nothing gets to my eternal psyche like it might've back when I was a kid which I gotta say is depressing, even if it is par for the course given what an over-the-hill hasbeen I am and shall remain.. Sheesh, when I was four EVERYTHING used to affect me in a positive, mystifying way to the point where some Old Maid deck of my sister's might as well have been the Holy Grail, and if you don't think I miss those much-to-be-preferred days then brother you are sadly mistaken!

As far as previously-mentioned gunch that has passed into one ear and certainly not out the other...the Les Rallizes Denudes CDs (including those 10-CD sets that "Illegal Alien" records out of Germany had released a good eight or so years back) have been getting the frequent pre-beddy bye spins perhaps egged on by the recently-discovered blog that underground scronk great Fadensonnen has blessed us with. Other favorites include 50% of the extant Rotomagus releases that have appeared on the TETES LOURDES collection of early French heavy metal and the Guru Guru live CD which also has some Uli Trepte solo material that's not quite as engaging, but then again why did you think he put the Guru stuff on it in the first place if only to get somebody to listen to the later-on iffy stuff in the first place! The Rotomagus material continues to amaze, especially considering how these guys, if they had some strong label backing, could have become a continental MC5/BOC/Stooges/MX-80 Sound with relative ease! Has anybody ever heard the '73 post-Rotomagus album by Phoenix, featuring the act doing a few Zep covers amongst who knows what else???

Anyway, here's the latest batch...a nice selection if I do say so myself and one which might just go to prove that perhaps I'm not exactly the horse-blindered, one-track-mind type of writer that too many fabricators out there have always tried  to pigeonhole me as. True you won't find anything on the last four remaining "underground" rock acts out there that you can read about on every other "hip" blog, but then again BLOG TO COMM was born of truer ideals, dontcha think?

Considering how both Misters Diddley and Holly were primo instigators during the just-post launching of the rock 'n' roll idiom why not couple these two platters into one magnificent twist-cone of a review anyway? Diddley's Chess debut features what I believe are all of his early single sides making for one great down-home quick fix session displaying all of the man's basic drive in a way that you KNEW woulda influenced more'n a few sicko limeys out there throughout the sixties and seventies! Not only that, but I gotta admit that it's sure nice to know that the all-eternal primitive wail was making its presence known front and center this early in the game even if it was obvious that this guy was gonna spawn more'n a few pallid imitators. But hey, after hearing so many Bo covers from the Liverbirds to Stones to Velvet Underground ("Crackin' Up" via "Venus in Furs"...see the Warhol tapes) and Deviants (see "Garbage") on and on and onanism, the original template does tend to put it ALL in focus.

You can say pretty much the same things 'bout Buddy Holly that you can about Diddley, only except that if the guy hadn't died in that fatal airplane crash would he ever have been as lionized as he had been, and by some of the cube-est of specimens on the face of this earth? Would he have spent the sixties chugging out string-laden hits before going the country route and HEE HAW appearances? Would Southern Californian hot tub cokeheads like Linda Ronstadt record El Lay schmoozy versions of his hits or Gary Busey star in a biopic loosely based on the legends surrounding his life?  Who knows, but dollars to dildos I'd bet my ass that he woulda!

Still I gotta admit loving this rather stripped down budget release which showcases what I believe are some early and rather country-fried Holly demos in fake stereo, including a different version of "That'll Be The Day" which does make for a pleasant change even if it ain't as hotcha as the hit. Dunno if this stuff's been reissued, but I find that my old flea market scuffed up copy still fills the bill and who knows, maybe one'll pop up in a bin near you sooner or later!
Brian Sands-FIXATION LP (Bizart)

Although I find myself more often than not weeping pure tears of joy over Brian's debut effort REHEATED CHOCOLATE TANGOS, I never did cozy up to this 1980 effort as much as I perhaps should have. Of course, now that it's thirty-one years later and Brian's attempt at shaping and forming a musical career for himself might as well be pooft! I find myself listening to FIXATION once again and...well whaddaya know but the thing really does hold up, stands the test of time and comes off like the Great Lost Self-Produced Local Album of the Underground Era that people like myself have been yearning for for quite some time. And here it was under my schnoz all along but (once again) I was letting my preconceived notions get the best of me!

Dunno exactly why this didn't quite click that snowy December 1980 day it came in the mail, but nowadays FIXATION comes off like a fantastic amalgamation of some of the better snat late-sixties/early-seventies moments glopped together in an early-eighties independent release NOT recorded by an Englishman. Some moments, such as on "Dialogue in Limbo", recall MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD-period Bowie while other songs range from Tyrannosaurus Rex performing the theme from THE ODD COUPLE to Sadistic Mika Band-styled rhumba and even some Nurse With Wound/Smegma-esque oddities complete with Captain Beefheart-inspired titles ("Leg Beast"). Throw in a little solo Lennon before he really began to take after his Soviet namesake as well as a cover of Chris Montez's "Call Me" with screeching radio static recalling everything from the first Faust album to Xhol, and you've got a great pop/avant/throbber that really goes down smooth. Like a Tall Dwarfs record you never did get the chance to hear before or maybe what you kinda woulda imagined The Incredible String Band to have churned out after reading about 'em only you got one of those albums that didn't quite fill the bill with regards to alla them mystical rockist tendencies that were supposed to conjure images of damsels in distress and the plague (you know, the hotcha stuff!).

Nice packaging too (even with the sexually perverso cover snap taken in where else but Norway) and pressed on green vinyl in keeping with the late-seventies froth from which this one arose. And hey, if you want a copy bad enough you can just contact Brian through his myspace page listed on the left and probably get one at budget prices! Who knows, he may even autograph one for you which doesn't mean you can sell it for beaucoup in twenny years, but think of how the property value will go up in your collection!

One from the era when bootlegs sporting actual covers were considered prized possessions in any rockster's collection (and cost a whopping $5.99, one whole buck more'n what a boot with a simple insert cover'd set ya back). Anyway, THE GOLDEN AGE OF MOTT THE HOOPLE succeeds even if this was taken from a Columbia-era show when the group just didn't have the spark and energy of their Atlantic days (you may beg to differ, but it's my blog so there!). The sound quality ain't that much to sneeze at while any record that starts off with the opening to "American Pie" is bound to arouse my suspicion (even if I mentioned in the last issue of BLACK TO COMM that I more or less agreed with Lester Bangs' assertation that the infamous Don McLean hit was a whole lot better'n a good portion of the singer/songwriter crud that was hitting the charts in the early seventies...and come to think of it next to Joan Baez it was!) but for bootleg fanz like myself who used to drool over these illicit wonders in the bins of back-alley record shops as a teen I must admit that the tingle still resonates deep within my adolescent psyche. Yeah, there's nothing as good as "The Moon Upstairs" here, but it sure stands as one of the few highlights of the early/mid-seventies that deserved the fame that was ultimately bestowed upon it. And I ain't sayin' that just to look like some high falutin' Big City Rock Crit either!
AN AFFLICTED MAN'S MUSICA BOX LP (United Dairies, England)

My Kruminescences regarding the Nurse With Wound album reviewed last week had me digging out this collection which, gosh darn it, reminds me of the guy on principle alone. A great selection of NWW-sanctioned tuneage as well, featuring French genre-breaker Jacques Berrocal, oft-forgotten krautsters Anima, Foetus, AMM live '67, Operating Theatre and of course the Nurse guys themselves all creating a good cross section of music begatting noise in various stages of abstractions and sound carvings. Actually makes a good case for a living and vibrant avant garde scene in the late-seventies, a time when I kinda thought that it was all dead because, if I was only getting around to discovering it at that time it just HADDA be! 
Pere Ubu-THE U-MEN LP (Tri-City bootleg)

A long-ignored 'un that doesn't seem to be remembered today other'n for inspiring the name of a late-eighties underground rock group, U-MEN LIVE was a pretty important recording at the time if only because this was actually put out by Pere Ubu themselves as a feeler as to whether or not a real life live album would be a profitable venture. Turns out it was, since about a year or so later the 390 DEGREES OF SIMULATED SOUND platter was unleashed and, as you mighta figured, some of the tracks that appear on here ended up on that classic which really helped edjamacate us lumpen Ubuites as to what the group was all about live back when Peter Laughner was a front and center member.

Nothing that early on the Ubuscope appears here, but this did feature the band during their MODERN DANCE days back when they were striking forth on what seemed to be a pretty austere direction.  Naturally it was one which did sorta stumble and fumble about to the point where David Thomas' more sunshine-y side eventually came to the forefront thus producing such releases as "Lonesome Cowboy Dave" which didn't exactly seem to measure up to "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" and confused more than a few longtime followers out there. But when these numbers were laid down in the run down clubs of NE Ohio back '78 way it was more'n obvious that Pere Ubu were helping to drive rock 'n' roll into the eighties, or at least what we kinda thought the eighties were gonna be long before punk rock begat new wave begat gnu wave and all of those groups I had a lotta hopes for began sounding extremely shallow, And they were supposed to KNOW BETTER (given that the lessons of the previous quarter century were supposed to have been indelibly embedded into their definitely advanced brains 'n all!) which really irritated me to no end once the early eighties rolled around and I kept thinking of that ol' sayin' that was goin' 'round..."it ain't comin' back!"

Still, it's better to dwell on the gnarly and appreciate what these guys as punks using the great Stooges-to-Dictators-to-Ramones/1973 CREEM mag aesthetics definition meant. Great sound quality considering these recordings were probably taken from audience tapes...nothing glitzy mind you but still sounding sweaty enough like a typical humid August night that always gets the tornado sirens wailin'. Great selection too. For a long time this was the only place you could get to hear "My Dark Ages" which somehow didn't make it onto the DATAPANIK IN THE YEAR ZERO collection like it shoulda. But for those of you who bought and cherished THE MODERN DANCE as soon as it hit the racks (or waited a few months before it hit the cut out circuit like I did) this should bring back a few haunting memories of the power and energy that made up seventies underground rock whether it been urban, suburban or even Euro for that matter!

For historical purposes, I have reproduced the exact same track listing translation that I laid down on that fateful day I first gave this platter a go circa March, 1979. Not that it means a heckuva lot in the face of actual historical archival finds and digs (face it, what does it really matter next to an original Laughner manuscript?), but ya gotta admit it sure looks interesting as some sorta blog eye-catcher not to mention as a doorway into the inner workings of a blogschpieler like myself! And after looking at my lettering abilities from a time when I certainly was not as much of a nervous wreck as I have become all I gotta say is, boy have I degenerated these past thirtysome years!
Scott Morgan-"Take a Look"/"Soul Mover" 45 r.p.m. seven inch single (Detroit)

Talk about unexpected surprised. This was supposed to have been reviewed for BLACK TO COMM #24 only the dang thing wound up missing somewhere around press-time! And y'know what? It took the thing a good eight or so years to finally turn up to which I say whatever suitable enough cliche you wanna pop in here (I love fact, I AM a cliche!) to describe my utter amazement and fascination that after years of searching the dad-blamed item has finally made itself known.

And it's about time too, because I can always use more of that high-energy Detroit o-mind resensification in my life and this one does a pretty good job of deliverin'. Now, I never thought that the Rationals were exactly one of the top-notch Detroit metal acts extant (though "Guitar Army" was their defining post-MC5 moment) but Morgan sure shines here with a buncha future Sonics Rendevous types (including Fred Smith himself) doing an impassioned hard-rocking variation on the ol' "stop and smell the roses" take life easy theme on the "a" side as well as a good hard riff on his Motown heritage on the flip. Sound quality ain't too hot (though it was taken from an unplayed original which was pressed on cattle turds) but the energy shines through and is perhaps even enhanced by the rawness of it all. Limited to 1000 copies, and although probably not as rare as the '73 original it's gonna be the dickens to find. Comes on grey vinyl which'll remind you of all of those dodgy indie releases that also got the color wax treatment to the point where whenever I saw a non-black release the thought of gooshy emote just overtook my blood sugar levels.
That's it for now (as if you were even thinking of expecting more!)...don't forget to tune in this Wednesday for a writeup of the Tommy Kirk beach party favorite CATALINA CAPER 'n until then, don't take any woodies!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


The second in a series of three DVD-R's sent to me by Bill Shute (the third, CATALINA CAPER, will be reviewed next week!), this 'un's an Eyetalian production starring none other'n Jeanne Crain and Vincent Price as the fertile Sun Goddess herself and the High Priest of Pain respectively. A cheap yet interesting enough endeavor, this is one of those films Eddie Haskell would watch if only to check it out for historical inaccuracies.

Not being a student of ancient history I can't tell ya if there is any playing around with the fax footloose and fancy free-like, but this historical dramatization's spiffy enough I guess. Not that it didn't do a bitta the ol' drag here 'n there, but the melodrama mixed with the action and typical stab and slash violence sure hearkened back to the days when cheap fodder like this made up the bulk of syndicated moom pitcher fare that ended up on your local UHF outlet more sooner 'n later. It does have that kinda Sunday afternoon post-flea market 1975 feel to it, and of course Price makes the pic worth watching in his typical slime way (he being the two-facing conniving head of the Priests of Thebes who violently oppose the arrival of the new sun god that'll put 'em all outta biz). The usual romantic plot seems par for the course yet nothing to get hubba hubba about, and although Crain ain't anything you'd wanna exactly toss out with the garbage I just can't get the idea outta my mind that during the time and place this movie was set people sure smelled bad! And since those feminine hygiene products that come in so handy these days weren't even invented yet all I gotta say is no wonder the world's population only stood at about three million (at the very most I think...could be getting my dynasties mixed up!).

All stenching aside, QUEEN OF THE NILE's a good 'nuff affair that stands the test of time as it sure went down OK as a post-lawn mowing way of cooling off. AIP fans will undoubtedly get a big jolt outta it, and as for the rest of you well,,,there's always your CITIZEN KANE Dee-Vee-Dee you can watch in order to make yourself feel all toasty warm inside and superior to the rest of us wretches!